Frontier Airlines announced Tuesday that it’s returning to Wichita after five years away.
Frontier will offer nonstop flights to and from Denver three days a week — Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays — starting Aug. 30.
The low-cost airline ended its daily flights in Wichita in 2012, citing underperformance.
“We were a totally different airline,” Stephen Shaw, with Frontier, said Tuesday. “We’ve gone through a bankruptcy since then, so we’ve come out ahead [and have] a different business model, but one that’s more sustainable.”
Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport spokeswoman Valerie Wise said after Frontier’s departure, average fares for direct flights to and from Denver rose almost 90 percent — forcing many travelers to find alternative routes, or forgo flying altogether.
“That is very detrimental to our economy," she said. “It does not help us when we’ve tried to bring people to Wichita for conventions and for tourism.”
Passenger traffic between Denver and Wichita has fallen about 44 percent since 2012, but, Wise said, the demand is there.
“I feel very confident with three days of service a week, rather than every day, that we should be able to fill those seats,” she said.
Frontier’s addition brings the number of airlines serving Wichita’s airport to seven.
This post was updated to clarify passenger traffic numbers.